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Education Support Professionals

Para bill needs work

WEA members are working hard to try and support E2SSB 5179 — if it is amended and the required professional development is also funded.

 E2SSB 5179 sets up a paraeducator licensure board, requires a two year piloting program and requires paraeducators to become licensed within three years beginning with the 2017-18 school year. It also asks the community colleges to revamp their associate of arts programs to meet the new standards.

Unfortunately, the current version of the bill does not fund the cost of the classes paras may have to take, and it doesn’t actually direct anyone to develop the courses. That means it could be an unfunded mandate for school districts, or it could force paraeducators to pay for the courses out of their own pockets. Since paraeducators are some of the lowest paid K-12 employees, many will not be able to afford the courses and will lose their jobs.

WEA is lobbying for an amendment to E2SSB 5179 to address those issues. Without those changes, WEA cannot support the bill.

Former Soundview ESP President on the benefits of unionization

Diane Formoso recently took the time to share her thoughts on union membership with other members of the Soundview UniServ.  Her letter shows the dramatic difference that joining WEA made in her career.  Here’s an excerpt from her letter:

“As a bus driver I know what it was like to work without a union and collective bargaining rights. When I first started driving, women were not allowed to drive a “big” bus. When it came to hiring, there were no rules. I had been a substitute driver for six months, when a regular job became available. However that job was given to a man who was a brand new hire and the reason given was that he had a family to support. Where would YOU be if seniority no longer existed? Would you be the favorite person who gets the extra hours or the job? Don’t think this could not happen to you! Without a union it can.”

To read her entire letter, click here.


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